Study Abroad in Sweden: A Smorgasbord of Opportunities
Sweden is one of those countries that everyone knows is beautiful and peaceful, but the details always seem a bit fuzzy. Famous for its neutral position in so many world conflicts, Sweden is the origin of Pippi Longstocking, the Hives and classic Hollywood actresses such as Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo. Not to mention some of the most beautiful snow-covered landscapes this inhabitable side of Antarctica
When you shop at H&M, you're buying Swedish clothes, and that furniture you bought for your apartment at IKEA is Swedish-designed. But don't worry, we share our chains too: the country has the highest number of McDonald's restaurants per capita in Europe.
So what can you gleam from this? That you can see pretty sites, buy pretty clothes and eat very un-pretty fast food burgers? No. Read the rest of this article to learn how a study abroad program in Sweden will expose you to a rich and creative culture, a strong education and a diverse, often stunning landscape.
Design Your Education
The Swedish government invests a great deal of time and money into their higher education system, and study abroad programs in Sweden are important to the county's multicultural student population. You'll be glad to know that most courses are taught in English, and you can also expect
- Brief courses and frequent exams
- Enhancement of your research, critical thinking and interpersonal skills
- Open communication between teachers and students
Higher education in Sweden dates back centuries, and the country is the home of the uber-prestigious Nobel Prize. The country is very well-known for its excellence in design, and students who focus on art and design will enjoy Sweden more than reruns of Project Runway.
- The Rohss Museum of Design and Applied Art in the city of Gothenburg boasts the largest collection of the various periods of Swedish design
- Southern Sweden is the center of the country's design industry, and students will want to visit the districts of Smaland and Vastergotland
- Visit the Dalarna region's village of Nusnas, where you can see traditional design, including the Dalacarlian horse, which is the national symbol of Sweden
If you study abroad in Sweden as an art or design student, you'll quickly realize that the Swedes are on the cutting-edge of all types of design, including interior design, fashion and furniture; and that design is an important part of the country's history, economy and culture.
Another staple of Swedish culture is its devotion to conserving the environment - good news for any student of environmental science. Take note, Sweden is full of amazing places for environmental students to explore:
- Sarek National Park is 780 square-miles of wilderness that you won't want to miss, with its glaciers, wildlife and mountain ranges
- Get the chance to watch the phenomenon of land elevation currently at work at the High Coast World Heritage area
- Study the distinct flora at the Vadvetjakka National Park or the ancient pines in the virgin forest of Muddus
Even if you aren't a student of science or the environment, you will be awestruck by the portion of Sweden that lies above the Arctic Circle, as it is where nature puts on the only natural laser-light show in the world. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, can be seen in winter, while the 'Midnight Sun' period of the summer will give you between one or two months of nothing but glorious sunshine!
Wonderful educational experiences exist outside the classroom of a study abroad in Sweden program, and many of them mix in a little fun. Most students are drawn like magnets to the capital city of Stockholm, which is the center of entertainment, business, culture and industry. IT students will especially love the city. Ericsson, the mobile telecommunication giant, is located here, and there are at least two personal computers to each Swedish resident. Seriously.
Fashionable Stockholm has a ton to offer students studying abroad in Sweden, whether you are looking for some culture or some nightlife:
- Step back in time and visit the city's Gamla Stan, the Old Center, or the Skansen, the world's first open-air museum
- Discover art in Sweden at the Museum of Modern Art, or Swedish history at the National Museum
- Rage the Sodermalm section's techno and rock clubs, cafes and bars
Part of what makes Stockholm so cool and unique is the fact that it's built on 14 islands that are connected by bridges. If you're looking for some outdoor adventure, check out the archipelago of Stockholm's more than 24,000 islands in the Baltic Sea, including Finnhamn, Grinda and Vaxholm. And if you want to be adventurous with your food, try reindeer and elk, and a popular national dish called Husmanskost that is made of potatoes, berries and mushrooms with meat or fish in a creamy sauce.
So yeah, Stockholm is great. It's hip, it's with it. It offers some killer nightlife. But it's not completely where it's at. You will also want to check out the partying and shopping in Gothenburg; the beaches of Gotland; and the natural bounty of Lapland. All of those adventures, plus some heavy and helpful learning, will ensure that a study abroad program in Sweden will keep you busy and change the way you view the world. And you'll be guaranteed not to get in any weighty conflicts!